Throughout October 2016, we will be fundraising to Keep HeadsUpGuys Going and sharing stories of recovery and practical tips from men who have fought and overcome depression.
"Don’t buy into the lie that to struggle with mental health means you are any less of a person or a man."
About Kevin Breel:
I am a writer, comedian and activist for mental health. Find out more about Kevin at kevinbreel.com.
Well, for me personally, the ‘turning point’ came from a pretty dark and low moment. I wrote a suicide note on Feb 26, 2011 as a teenage kid. I was pretty scared and felt alone and- in a lot of ways- ashamed of what I was experiencing.
I had been struggling with depression for a few years on and off and I didn’t know how to talk about it. And then that night, when I sort of hit this rock bottom and was suicidal, I realized I needed to stop trying to run away from this conversation and just have it. And so the next day, I finally forced myself to talk about what was going on. And that led me down a path to get help and to confront a lot of my issues, and to really start to come from a place of non-judgment and accept what was going on.
For me, that was an enormous shift in perspective.
I would try to take a step back and realize: masculinity and mental health have been created in the media to be total opposites. The archetype of a “man” is to be outwardly strong, confident and completely immune to emotions in a lot of ways. But that’s just ridiculous. And that’s a hard thing to realize.
I felt so much shame being a young man struggling with depression. I was so afraid of how people might label or judge me. And then when I just shed those limiting beliefs and that sort of toxic view of masculinity, I realized that it’s just a part of the human experience. So my only advice would be don’t buy into the lie that to struggle with mental health means you are any less of a person or a man.
My idea of strength has a lot more to do with self acceptance and honesty than it does posturing to pretend that nothing can hurt you. We are all just trying to figure this thing out and we should talk about that.
– Kevin Breel, writer, comedian and activist for mental health based out of Victoria, BC/Toronto, Ontario, Canada